"You Say It's Your Birthday!!!"

Well, it's here yet once again. The day that some relish, the day that some long to forget. January 23rd for me is my birthday.



I'll be 33 years of age this year. I'd like to take a look back on the past year for posterity's sake.



This time last year the Louisville Cardinals were hot to trot. I remember watching them beat then #2 ranked Florida in Louisville. It was awe inspiring, especially since Franciso Garcia had lost his brother just about a week before the game. His brother was shot in Brooklyn. Francisco played with such heart, and motioned to the heavens at each opportunity. I saw the Cards play Tennessee today, and Francisco plays with his brother's memory heavy on his soul. However, instead of burden, he plays with his brother's memory as inspiration.



Right around the beginning of February last year is when my dad began his steady decline until he passed away in March 2004. I've spoken to this before, and you can read more about it by clicking here. The past year was obviously marked by my dad's passing, and the birth of my second child. I was trying to think about what I was going to write in this post earlier, and I had to look far back into my memory to recall much of anything besides those two things.



I also began a new job this year. The job I now have was originally offered to someone else, and then re-offered to me right after dad's passing. Then later in the year, I interviewed for the teaching position. That strangely did not work out, but things have been just fine with my new job, my new colleagues, and my somewhat new line of work. Shoot, I wouldn't be writing this post if I hadn't started my new job. I have been afforded a creativity that I have so long desired. It could not have come at a better time.



Susan is now finishing up law school. We were right in the middle of her law school this time last year. It's amazing how that time has passed, and for me it's not at all too soon.



Jacquelyn has come so far in the past year. Kids do indeed grow up too quick. Her and I have been through a lot the past several years, and we have only grown stronger for it. She's an extraordinary child. I know that sounds so cliche, but I enjoy her personality, her laughter, her effort at becoming herself.



So, I'm turning 33. I still find myself searching for myself. I guess we all always do, trying to get to know ourselves a little better each day. I noticed yesterday that Josie would look at me and laugh, and then spill into crying. I realized that when she looked into the soul of my eyes, she could tell I was still hurting because dad is gone. So I took her into my arms, and looked her in her eyes, and told her, "You know honey, it's ok. It's ok to have sadness in your soul. We are going to be ok." No, she did not completely understand my language. But I can now honestly say she understands my eyes and my soul. She is happier for it, and I could ask for nothing more than understanding.



Now Josie and I are together. Jackie and Susan have been with me the whole time. I feel fortunate to have learned through thought, reflection, and experience that happiness and sadness in the soul can coexist. You cannot run away from yourself.



Over the past year I'm happy to say I've become more centered, more prayerful. I don't pray a lot, but I'm settled in my soul and in my spirit. I try to bring a peace to my family. Yesterday Jackie told me she was my guardian angel. How can I not be at peace knowing I have the eyes of God watching me? Not waiting for me to take a wrong step, but to be there to catch me when I stammer or fall. Focusing on those that are dear to us is the most important thing that we can do. I'll never forget my dad telling me his only responsibility in his life was his wife and kids. What a fine world he and mom made for me. That type of security is needed in these times of disaster, war, and tribulation. Teaching a showing strength to others is something I carry forward in my family's name.



So I now smile. I hope if you have read this, you will accept a happy birthday wish from me to you. You, whoever you are, are obviously one of many reasons why my birthday to me is special. Not to mention that my wife Susan always does well by me for my birthday. Her buying me a keyboard, when I couldn't play it, was one of the most special things she has done for me. She is pursuing her dream by finishing law school. She knew I always wanted to play piano. She was saying to me, "Well, play!"



On my birthday, Happy Birthday from me to you, and thanks to all that play a little special part in my life.

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